A Governor from High Tech
by William Grosso
Yesterday, I wrote a weblog entry in which I compared Olestra, the California gubernatorial recall, and the latest Microsoft security hole. And I suggested, albeit in an offhand way, that it was only a matter of time before Tim O'Reilly declared his candidacy.
When I said it, I was joking.
But after posting it, I began to take the joke more seriously. More precisely: what I'm taking seriously is the idea that someone from high-tech should run for governor.
This grows out of a long list of thoughts. Here they are, in no particular order:
- No major political figures are running. Aside from the current governor, the current candidates list consists entirely of second, third, and fourth raters (note that I'm not certain of this because it's hard to find a complete list of candidates). The biggest name is either an aging film star (and it's not Clint Eastwood, who at least has some political experience) or a former mayor who didn't impress anyone the last time he ran for governor. Moreover, a lot of the political speculation seems to center around how long it will take before someone worth voting for enters the race. I'm just not impressed with the current possibilities.
- Many of the most compelling political debates center around technology. Is it just me, or is technology playing an increasingly central role in society? We're all talking about, and legislatures are legislating on, technological issues. Why not insert some actual expertise into the center of that debate?
- The computer industry is California's biggest industry. We're a huge part of the economy, we're in a downturn still (does anyone believe that things will get better real soon now), and we're not part of the debate. No candidate has said anything like "I'd revitalize the software industry by ..." (again, subject to the fact that I don't know who most of the candidates are). The fiscal crisis is important, granted. But most of what I'm hearing is embarassingly juvenile (on both sides). Let's talk about important things. Like, for example, the currently depressed state of the largest industry in California. Or the continued impact of outsourcing technological development to foreign countries. Or ... something. Let's talk about actual issues.
- A "technology candidate" would put the focus on the future, instead of the embarassing partisan squalling and total government ineptitude that got us here. Let's talk about what California can be, instead of pointing fingers over the current mess.
- High tech has a significant number of senior leaders. People who are moving on to the elder statesman role, but who have managed large companies through hard times. Brilliant, visionary, with significant executive experience and looking for their next challenge (or a graceful way to end their career). If an aging action star can be taken seriously, then we have a plethora of truly over-qualified candidates.
- [insert reasons here]
So who should it be? Without taking too strong a position, I will just state that, should
I also hereby promise that, no matter what, I will not vote for: Gray Davis, Richard Riordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Willie Brown, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Arriana Huffington, Michael Huffington, William Simon, Bill Lockyer, Phil Angelides, or Darrell Issa.
Who else from our industry would make a good governor for California?
Geek Girl Candidate
How about Georgy Russell (http://www.georgyforgov.com/)